In Windows XP (and likely 2000 and Vista/7 as well), you can set the desktop icons to have a drop-shadow effect, but it only seems to work if a wallpaper is configured. Having the wallpaper set to None turns the drop-shadow off. This is presumably due to an assumption that it is not needed against a solid color. While it true that the icon labels should be legible against a solid color, that does not negate the need/wish to have the drop-shadow to further smooth the the font in addition to ClearType.

Does anyone know of a way to force Windows to use the drop-shadow effect without applying a wallpaper?

(I already tried creating a blank wallpaper that is filled with nothing but a solid color of the background, and while it does work to force the drop-shadow, it will not suffice because it interferes with a program I wrote to force the translucent marquee/selection rectangle on the XP desktop. Therefore, I am looking for a shell-hook or something that bypasses Explorer and manually turns the drop-shadow on.)

  • How about a 1x1 sized transparent PNG image set to center as the wallpaper? – PhonicUK Oct 11 '12 at 12:30
  • @PhonicUK, I already said that is no good. – Synetech Oct 12 '12 at 0:16
  • @Synetech, some idiot hit-and-run down-voted without explaining what he hell their problem with the question is. *sigh* – Synetech Oct 12 '12 at 0:16
  • no you didn't - you said the problem was with a solid color. I said to use a transparent image. – PhonicUK Oct 12 '12 at 8:37
  • @PhonicUK, what difference does it make? The problem is with a wallpaper of any kind, not the color. The question is clearly how Force Desktop Icon Drop-Shadow Without Wallpaper? – Synetech Oct 12 '12 at 15:01

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